News & Competitions
Sitting down with: Ruffwear – Brand Interview
Posted on: October 07 2014
It has always been our belief, here at Muddy Paws, that to source the best products, you have to be dealing with the most innovative and passionate manufacturers. This is why we make a real effort to get to know the suppliers of products for our website, allowing us to share our enthusiasm for all things pooch; high specification dog wear and accessories in particular!
Therefore, we were extremely happy to hear that Ruffwear were happy to come and have a chat with us. We thought we'd pick the brain of Susan Strible, Ruffwear's Director of Marketing, to get a better idea as to what kind of work is involved in making superb quality pooch products, and which specific aspects of the Ruffwear brand make it so successful.
Muddy Paws: What was the inspiration behind your "Kibble Kaddie"?
Ruffwear: Several years ago, Ruffwear made a product similar to our current Kibble Kaddie. We redesigned and reintroduced it, due to our own desires to carry dog food with us on our adventures.
We designed the Kibble Kaddie to be a must-have piece of travel gear if dogs are coming along on an extended trip. It's an efficient way to transport and dispense dog kibble while travelling, whether camping or just visiting family and friends.
Muddy Paws: Do you have an office dog? If so what breed and name?
Ruffwear: At Ruffwear, we've added up the number of employees and the number of dogs that we all have and the dogs outnumber the people. We often have dogs in the office and they range in breed from an Australian Cattle Dog named Mavis, to an English Springer Spaniel named Cinder, to a wide variety of mutts and mixed breeds (Seppi, Layla, Gus, JJ, Dahlia, and Tater, to name just a few). Our office is very dog-friendly; it's a common everyday sight to find different dogs joining in the fun here in the office.
Muddy Paws: Every year you redesign products - how do you research and test these changes?
Ruffwear: The Ruffwear team meets regularly to add to our future products list and refine our product development plans. We have a robust R&D process that involves going through many rounds of prototypes and samples, until we are ready to test the products in real-life situations; on dogs in the US and around the world.
During any one season of testing, up to 60 dogs and humans are involved, providing detailed feedback to our Product Development team. We take this feedback and further refine our products so that they are at their best when we introduce them to the market.
Muddy Paws: What plans are there for your Winter 2014 range?
Ruffwear: We just launched some exciting new products on August 1st, including a new dog harness called the Front RangeTM Harness. Ideal for everyday use, it comes with two leash attachment points, one up top and one at the dog's chest, both for a greater degree of control and to discourage pulling.
We've also redesigned our popular K-9 OvercoatTM. This is our most durable dog coat, which features an integrated internal cozy fleece layer. It comes in three new colors and six sizes. The all-new lightweight, minimalist RidgelineTM Leash features in our new product launch as well, coming equipped with stretch webbing and a strong, all-metal leash clip. Those are some highlights from our latest product introduction for Winter 2014.
Muddy Paws: From your perspective, what makes Ruffwear so different from any other brand?
Ruffwear: Ruffwear has been designing outdoor gear for dogs for almost 20 years. Every product we make has been inspired by customer needs and we design products with the dog in mind, and to perform exceptionally in the environment for which they are created.
We use high-quality, durable materials, and make our products in the same facilities that create well-known outdoor gear for humans. We take a lean approach to everything we do in order to maximize resources and minimize waste. We personally use the products we make and spend time refining and continuously improving. We look for partners with similar values and focus on sustainable business practices.
In short, our mission is to build performance products that enhance and inspire outdoor adventures for dogs and their human companions.
The passion that Ruffwear have for pooches, the great outdoors and well designed, high utility products is clear from both Susan's responses, and from the quality of the Ruffwear products that we stock on site. In our experience, the enthusiasm invested in the design of these products is infectious to both dog and owner; comfortable, effective products ensure that everyone has a great time!
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